We’ve already been impressed by the new Zero from Genesis, not least because no matter which model you choose you get the exact same frame as the pro riders at team Madison-Genesis will be riding for the 2015 season – they just get better spec.
That means you get a 950g chassis made with hi-grade 24/30 tonne unidirectional carbon, with top end details like carbon dropouts front and rear and routing for both mechanical and electronic drivetrains.
The frame uses Kamm-tail tube shapes (a truncated aerofoil that stays within the UCI’s rules). Up front the sculpted fork's crown interlocks into the head and down tubes, creating a smooth clean line.
The oversized bottom bracket shell houses a BB86 press fit design to add ample stiffness, while the seatstays are a pencil thin diameter for rear end flex. A further nod to comfort is the use of a 27.2mm round seatpost, instead of using an aero post, following the rest of the bikes slippery features.
The Zero .3 strikes an expert balance between surefooted stability and sharp handling, though the stiff cockpit will benefit from an upgrade
The ride position is nicely race orientated, with a steep 73.5 head angle and a long 565mm top tube (matched to a 100mm stem). Genesis has made a concession to the endurance rider by increasing the head tube height to 175mm and the wheelbase to 990mm (the steel Volare race machine's is 145mm and 987mm).
That makes the Zero’s handling less sharp than the Volare, but it's beautifully balanced between composed stability and nimbleness. We love the way the Zero descends – the long position encourages aggressive riding in the drops. Yet up on the hoods on rolling terrain it’s a quick bike for covering big miles.
The stack and reach figures of 602 and 400mm respectively makes it 41mm taller yet 8mm longer than the Volare. The increased height gives a great all-day riding position, but the longer reach makes it easy to assume a more aero position when hammering along on the flat.
Component wise it’s pretty much on the money. There's a full complement of 105, with a racy 52/36 matched to an 11-28 cassette that helps on extended climbs.
The pairing of the new wider Fulcrum Racing 7 LG wheels and fat 25mm Ultrasport rubber help to null noisy vibrations from poor roads, with the back end particularly impressive. That's despite the squishy padded Genesis saddle that’s neither particularly comfortable nor stable to sit on (our only standout disappointment with the whole bike).
The front end's rather rigid 0.2 alloy bar and stem combo does transmit a bit of buzz, especially when you're riding on the limit on fast descents over coarse road surfaces.
Overall though we think the new Zero chassis is truly top grade – swift, comfortable enough yet with a race orientated ride position. With a few small upgrades (the cockpit and definitely the saddle) you'd have one of the best options around.